Sunday, May 24, 2009

I have no clever title

It seems there's a large preference for Google Reader over Bloglines -- thanks for the recommendation, everyone! Just as comments were coming in on my last post complaining about missing blogs, Bloglines decided to pull one of those, "Oh, by the way, so-and-so has 200 new posts" dealies, so I made the switch. Google Reader is kind of wonky, as in what's up with alphabetizing blogs that begin with the word "the" under T, but I can live with that.

Last time I removed my blogroll from my sidebar, I got a few emails of ... concern ... that it had disappeared. I have spent over six hours trying to reinstate it from Google Reader, and it keeps screwing up. I'd rather spend my time doing other things, so my best advice at this point would be, "Get your own blogroll." :-)

I've been knitting a bit, thanks to Battlestar Galactica Season 2.

Noro Silk Garden No. 241A, a lovely mix of mostly greens and purples.


I finished spinning the red sparkly stuff I was working on, but I have started plying it yet. That hasn't stopped me from starting to spin something else, though.

This is superwash merino, the May/June spin-a-long from All Spun Up. Greeny blues with a bit of white and rust, drafts like butter -- love it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

At least I'm consistent

So, you know how when a bunch of things go wrong, and then something goes right and you think the string of wrong is gone? That's not what happened. The wrong continues. It's kind of reassuring to know that my place in the universe is secure.

See, I've been knitting a secret sock, and it's coming along just smashingly. Very cool pattern, easy to remember, no charts to be glued to, just read your knitting and keep on going round and round. It even has a different construction technique than I've been used to -- toe up and a wonderful invisible gusset to help make the short row heel fit better.

And then the pattern is released, and I want to show you some pics of how wonderful it is, and then my camera decided, "Umm, nope. You can have this ONE pic and I am going to keep all the rest for myself." And it steadfastly refuses to release its hostages, even though I talked nicely and told him what a nice camera he was and offered to buy him ice cream. Ummm, nope. No go.

So, you get what I got. That's most of one sock. I'm sure my camera will eventually decide to cooperate, and I'm sure I'll actually knit the second sock, so I'll wait until the stars are realigned to do a proper FO post. In the meantime, you can see wonderful pictures of two socks here and you can download the pattern here. It's even free! Go for it -- you'll like it! Thank you, Bea, for sharing your wonderful creativity!

Any one else use Bloglines? Notice anything wonky? Like, it's eating people and won't let you see them? Kinda like my camera? Look over to the right? See that list of blogs? Way down near the bottom there should be someone that I've been reading for, like, forever. And all of a sudden she's gone! Not on that list, not on my list of subscriptions on Bloglines -- just gone. But when I try to re-subscribe, Bloglines says, "Hey, you're already subscribed to that blog." Sigh. There could very well be others that have been invisiblized, but I read enough that it's hard to keep track. If Wendy Knits and Bloglines doesn't see it, is she actually really knitting?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still here ... barely

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but back at the beginning of the year I joined the Grafton Fibers ColorWays club. Every month, you get a big, fluffy batt of corriedale, died in wonderful colours and blended in interesting ways. I opened the first package and was totally petrified. The one time I'd used a batt before, I just grabbed handfuls of fiber and spun them together. Although you could use that technique with these, you'd lose the wonderful colour progressions. Yup, each batt so far has been carded so that the colours gradually shift from one end to the other. January went from red to turquoise and back to red, and February from red through yellow to blue, March from ultraviolet through blue and brown, and April from gold through green to burgundy. They have been gorgeous. Rather than end up the year with a stack of 12 nice neat boxes,, I decided it was time to just dive in.

I started with February. I must confess that none of these pictures accurately reflects the true colours. The original batt was sort of like this, but the red is way off, and it doesn't show much of the green:

I tore the batt into four sections length-wise, then pulled each section out width-wise into a tube (rolag?) and then dizzed them into a long strip (roving?).

To keep the colours true while spinning, I had two choices, either Navajo ply or singles. I did two chains of N-ply and got bored, so singles it was. :-)

One end of the yarn is red, some with a bit of brown. The yellow is gradually introduced, with some green, and it shades through blue with some black to clear blue.

Spinning a single is a bit scary, because normally the plies in a multi-ply yarn give it strength. In a single, you need enough twist to hold it together but not so much that it gets all kinky. I used a fairly heavy spindle -- my Bossie maxi --so I could try to keep my yarn thick. It took some planning to keep the colour progression so I had the right ends to join together as I built the total length. I finished it by alternating hot and cold washes, with a bit of agitation, to slightly felt it and give it some strength.

This picture shows the blue and green, but the red is off.

In this one, the red is right, but the blue and green are off. I'm not really a red person, but I do love this colour.

I ended up with about 175 yards, 10 WPI, of the softest, fluffiest yarn I've made so far.

I'm thinking it wants to be a scarf, probably like the Noro striped one that's very popular, but I haven't quite decided if I want to match it with some plain black or maybe wait to see if another batt later in the year will coordinate with it. I think I'll just pet it for a while. :-)

I finally finished a pair of socks.

I posted about these before and how much I was NOT enjoying them. The yarn is Regia Kaffe Fassett, and when I bought it, I thought I was getting the striped variety. Turns out I must have been distracted by some other nearby pretty and reached into the wrong bin and got -- whatever that is. I was determined to finish them, though, because I was in one of those "Next time you go yarn shopping, remember to check the bin!" self-improvement masochistic modes. A good way to just get through something that isn't appealing? Rent a couple of DVDs and just sit and knit and don't look at them. I have Battlestar Galactica Season to thank for getting these done. I hadn't seen any Battlestar before, and it looks to be a good series. I still kind of hate the socks, though.

With those two projects done, it was time to start another. It's been very busy at work, and stressful, and I've been generally grumpy and tired. But every time I pick this up, I can't help but smile a bit. If the red and purple sparkles don't do it, the spindle itself certainly does.

It's batts from Enchanted Knoll Farm, Red Silk Kimono colourway, being spun on my Tilt-a-Whorl drain strainer spindle. Big fun, and I have absolutely no idea what I will do with the finished yarn, and I don't really care. :-)